LOVE IS IN THE AIR… every tree you look around!

It happens that cicadas (from Latin cicada means “tree cricket”) can’t wait until February 14th to celebrate love, but started one month before and they keep going. For a couple of months starting with the dry season here at El Remanso and everywhere on the Osa Peninsula the sounds of the forest are dominated by the love song of these insects. Same as cicadas in temperate forest, the tropical fellows as nymphs (young insects) live in the ground, they come out of the ground to molt and become the adults we see (and hear!). Temperate forest species of cicadas are known to live underground for 4-7 years but little is known about the “tropical forest brothers” of cicadas in Costa Rica. How do they make this loud sound? It’s a male thing… they have a membrane on the side of the abdomen in a region called tymbals. The contraction of the muscles produces a loud "click" sound, and to amplify this sound the abdomen of the male is a hallow cavity that works as a resonance chamber. All cicadas species produce this loud sound to mate, they are among the loudest of the insect-produce sounds. Each species has a distinctive sound, not all of them audible for humans. On the other hand there are about 2,500 species in the world, 26 of them in Costa Rica, can you imagine a chorus made of cicadas?